The power of thank you
by

Two small words can mean a world of difference in your day-to-day business. Those words are, of course, “thank you.” They cost you nothing but time, but can be invaluable in building a strong business relationship.

We’ve written before about how much we appreciate good customer service. But a firsthand experience made me think about how often (or rarely) we thank people for a job well done, especially when we are tempted to think of it as our due.

Put it Into Practice

I had to track down an errant shipment. It had gone astray, and was delivered to the wrong location with a similar name, five towns over. After calling and speaking to the manager, finding where things had gone wrong, and hearing her promise it would finally be delivered where it was supposed to be in two days or less by special courier, I said thanks perfunctorily and ended the call.

They made their delivery earlier than promised, we had what we needed in hand. So I decided to call the manager back to let her know the package had been delivered correctly and to thank her for pulling out all the stops to rectify the situation. She was quiet for a moment, then said, “Oh wow, nobody ever calls to say thank you! All we get at this level are the problems and complaints. You have totally made my week! Thank YOU!” she gushed.

Don’t Assume They Already Know

I mused it over with a friend later that day who, incidentally, was taking me out to lunch as a thank you for some design help I’d given her. We discussed how a simple three-minute call had so dramatically changed this woman’s work day and outlook. We talked about how we often toss off a “thanks!” but leave it at that. How sometimes it means about as much as “how are you?” when greeting an acquaintance. It’s the appreciative thanks that really has meaning. The thanks that acknowledges, “yes, you did your job as expected, but the work that went into it—especially if it was extra—is noticed and appreciated.” We talked about how we could be more appreciative in our daily lives, both at home and at work.

The Gratitude Experiment

I read about an experiment that I’m planning to try with a class I teach at church around Thanksgiving: take one week to thank everyone for everything they do for you for an entire week. Someone gets you a glass of water? Sends a report for you? Does their usual great job? You thank them. The teacher who originally did this with her classes reported that there was a definite shift by the end of the week in the way she and her students acknowledged others. Call it an attitude of gratitude. Whatever it is, if it’s sincere and from the heart, everyone you come into contact with will be grateful for the interaction.

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